Retirement: UR DOIN IT WRONG


I woke up at the crack of dawn, this morning, to take my car into the shop. My husband told me that the brake rotors needed to be machined (or something like that). As he very nicely tried to explain the problem, his voice turned into the Charlie Brown school teacher and my eyes rolled into the back of my head.

  • Whaa-Whaa-Whaa. That’s all I heard.

Here’s the deal, dudes: I don’t know anything about cars, and if I wanted to learn something about cars, I wouldn’t have a husband. I would stay single, take a short course on automobiles, and fix these problems myself.

I told the husband, “Please, just text me the problem so I can repeat it verbatim to the mechanic.”

Here’s what he wrote:

When you drop off the car, tell them that we have a problem with the front brakes. I recently replaced the rotors, calipers, and brake pads with all new equipment. However, there is a vibration in the pedal and steering wheel under certain conditions (worse when breaking while traveling fast).

The message is actually longer, but you get the short version because it’s so damn boring that it goes blurry before my eyes.

So I drove out to the auto shop, which is in the backwoods of Michigan. There are swamps, ponds, and several trailer parks called Soggy Acres and Shady Lanes — along with dogs and cats just wandering the streets. It’s the kind of area that deserves the nickname Michissippi. I half expected the dudes at the auto shop to have a Southern accent.

Thankfully, my experience was super-easy. I played with my new Twitterberry application while some nice guy fixed my brakes. He tried to tell me something about a missing bushing, a warranty on the calipers, etc., and I said, “I’m about to pass out from the boredom. Please, can you just write this down for me so I can repeat it to my husband?”

He said, “No problem. Have your husband call me if he has questions.”

The dude knows my kind (i.e., disinterested in the details) and I think he feels sorry for my husband.

I left the auto shop and began my long drive back to ‘normal Michigan’ (if that exists), but I had to stop and wait for a group of thirty senior citizens on bikes to cross the road. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve witnessed thirty old people — in bike shorts & varicose veins — trying to weave across two lanes of busy, Michissippi traffic.

I was stuck in a traffic-time-warp, and I had all sorts of questions.

  • Who am I? Why am I here?
  • Is this some kind of geezer ‘exercise club’?
  • Are they paying for a bike tour of the swamps of Michissippi?

I had plenty of time to ponder my situation — and explore the meaning of life — as I watched one biker at a time move from the right lane to the left lane. Did I mention that they all used hand signals? (Oh you’re all changing lanes — one biker at a time? I’m totally surprised. Thanks for signaling!)

The scene reminded me of the time I was stuck in the slow-motion lane at Old Country Buffet with my grandmother and my late Auntie Helen. Do you want that piece of ham? How about that lump of potatoes? Let’s have a twenty minute conversation about it and hold up the line, Gramz.

Christ. As I watched the last biker cross the road, one of them yelled out at oncoming traffic — SLOW DOWN!

If that’s retirement, I want to cash out my 401k and work at McDonalds until the day I die.

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